Is Homework Unhelpful?

Is Homework Unhelpful?

How do you feel about homework?

Does it cause stress and conflict at home, or do you think homework is an vital part of your child's education?

If you're in the first camp, you're not alone. More than a third of parents feel homework "isn't helpful" for children of primary school age, according to new research.

The Independent reports:

Homework is a “huge cause of stress” for many families – and for children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) it can be detrimental to their health, feedback to Ofsted says. The majority (72 per cent) of parents said they believe prep at school – allowing pupils’ time to plan and get ready for lessons through research – would be a better alternative to homework.

This really surprises me but then I'm a major fan of homework. In fact, Id'd go so far as to say that I'd campaign against scrapping homework if my child's school proposed doing so.

Why? Because having to do homework has equipped my kids with so many essential life skills.

Now, I'll hold my hands up here and admit that I wrote about why I was in favour of banning homework just a few years ago but I've changed my mind. That's allowed.

In fact, what prompted this change of heart was seeing my eldest child sail through his first year at secondary school, completely unfazed by the pressures of homework.

Yes, homework was a cause of stress and even tears (mostly mine) for many years in my house but we overcame that and have now reached a point where the first thing my lads do when the get home is settle down at the kitchen table to make a start on their homework while I fix them a snack and ask them about their day.

Homework has actually become one of my favourite parts of the day. We got here by persevering through all the years where my kids begged not to have to do their homework the moment they got home, but now they thank me (literally) for teaching them to get it out the way early so the rest of the afternoon and evening is theirs.

We'd love to know your thoughts on this story. Are you in support of homework? Or do you think it's unhelpful and causes unnecessary stress at home? Leave us a comment here or come and join the conversation over on our Facebook page. And don't forget to take part in our poll on the subject.


33 comments

  • Jenny R.

    Depends my son isn't a great reader so we practice at home to help.

  • Ruth A.

    after our conversation today!

  • Carol H.

    In primary school, I hate it. I don’t see why they should do extra work at home after their day at school. There’s not many jobs where you come home and spend more time working. I think that time out of school is for family, relaxing and doing other things that kids enjoy. Secondary school, it has its place as a lead into further education.

    • Sarah W.

      Funny that’s one of those jobs with work outside work is teaching marking all those homework’s x totally agree young children need to play explore and have family time

    • Carol H.

      I agree. However how many children grow to be teachers? There are many more jobs out there where we don’t take work home, nursing, care, housing officers, retail, service industry jobs etc etc

    • Kim-Georgina G.

      I spend time with my son as he does his homework, he tells me what he needs to do and then we go through it step by step. It 30-60 mins max and I see it as constructive interaction and he takes great pride in showing me how much he has learned that day.

  • Carol H.

    It causes no end of arguments and upset. We all end up stressed.

    • Jenny R.

      I agree. More so if its stuff they do differently to how we where taught

  • Georgie M.

    Its not really a bad thing its just that theres so much of it! Practising reading, times tables and spellings i agree with but "projects" that parents end up having to pay a fortune for is a joke :confused:

  • Samantha H.

    My 7 year old has reading which I do nightly, spellings, math (A4 sheet) and English homework every week (done on fri). I have to help him. I have a 4 year old too at school. They both do 2/3 after school activities each too for fun. I’m a single parent with lots of help from parents. It’s too much sometimes. I keep weekends completely free. Weekdays are hectic. I love the after school bits mon to thurs (swimming, martial arts, dancing, gymnastics) and would be disheartened if I can’t manage it all in the future. A bit less at that age or alternate hw each week would be easier.

    • Charlie W.

      my 5 year old has the same amount of homework!

  • Hannah G.

    I think it’s hard to try and cram it in that it ends up feeling more a chore than anything. We have swimming and other extra curricular activities through the week that whilst we are meant to do words and reading every night we end up ramming it all into one night. You end up feeling stressed out about it especially when you forget and end up rushing it half assed the next morning before school :see_no_evil:. In saying that we do buy fun spelling books and the kids have their own chosen reading they do at home so they are always learning - just more in their own way!

    • Charlie W.

      if you only have words and reading youre lucky! we have a maths and english assignment every week and on top of that reading each night and words / sounds to learn each week... and she's only 5!

    • Hannah G.

      Charlie Wilkins wow! We have a math website to go on which the kids enjoy so it doesn’t feel like homework the same if that makes sense? English assignments at 5 :pensive: that sounds like a pretty tough going thing! feeling better about my lots homework now!x

    • Charlie W.

      they have this ipad app thing called purple mash which they can do for fun xx

  • Lucy O.

    Too much, especially in the younger ages. I totally understand as kids get to the end of primary and defo in secondary school. Autistic child in reception class and homework weekly is a nightmare. I hate it

    • Clare I.

      I find weekly homework for Immy in nursery a bit of a chore for myself as Shen can’t print photos of activities herself :joy::joy:

  • Karen P.

    I have 2, soon to be 3 children in primary. This week they have had no homework, and it's been fantastic! We have had time to play, they have played together inside and out. It's given me the chance to properly discuss their day and not just quickly on way home in car.

    A child's day is already long and draining. I dont see any benefit to homework at all. It's an extra strain on teachers, children and parents too.

  • Sinead G.

    I think 1 or 2 nights a week is ok. But kids need to be kids. Come home and play with toys or outside.

  • Frances S.

    Don’t need homework when they are young.

  • Kerry A.

    We get it for the whole term at the start that way if you have a very busy weekend you don’t do any that week but if it’s quiet the following one you can do a few. Half are compulsory the other half aren’t and some are just like ‘bake, go the library, draw a poster etc. Maths is online so that’s more appealing to most children.

  • Kim-Georgina G.

    I like homework, gives me a chance to see what my son has been doing at school and I get to help him if he gets stuck on anything.

  • Vicky W.

    I think it depends on how it's done my little boy is in reception and had a book to read each week and at the beginning of each term a list comes home of optional activities to do as homework relating to that terms topics and you can pick and choose what you do if anything ... He likes it as he picks what he wants to do and we do it together and he loves taking it back in to school

  • Claire C.

    This is a catch 22! I love being involved and seeing how well my child is doing and being able to access areas for improvement. However this is definitely added stress for any working parent! Id love to be a stay at home mum and have this time but its already a race against time to get home, drop gran parent home, make dinner, eat dinner, bath and still have anytime to enjoy your kids before the early bed they need

  • Tessa F.

    My boy is 6 and only gets 1 homework assignment every Friday. So we've got the whole weekend to work on whatever it may be, could be maths that is done in 10 minutes, could be something crafty that takes a bit more time. I don't mind it at all. There's still more than enough time left to play. During the rest of the week we try to read something every day, which takes 30 mins at most.

  • Candy M.

    My daughter is in Year 2 (7yo) and had 7 pieces of homework this week. Normal reading, guided reading, literacy (retelling a fairy tale), numeracy (2D shapes and their properties) including a mymaths worksheet online, 5 rule spellings and 5 frequency words which have to be used in sentances, cursive hand writing practice and 2 comprehension Sats paper examples. On top of this she had to finish 3 pieces of topic homework (creative/ written and a visit revolving around plants and gardens) AND as it is a Catholic School she is currently doing preparations for her first holy communion so has to write a reflection on Mass that a have to attend and homework for that! She comes home on a school bus so doesn't get home until 4. FAR TOO MUCH!

    • Candy M.

      We also had homework added to the school website when it snowed!

    • Anna S.

      WHAT?! That is pure Madness!

  • Lorraine S.

    Practise Tables spellings & reading - Yes .but don't agree with written homework at all. Just write a bit more at school.

  • Kate D.

    I think it should probably be a lot less for infants as my son doesnt finish school til 3:30 and goes to bed at 7. He is so tired that doing one page of handwriting or reading a book takes over an hour of coaxing. Its extremely challenging when you also have a younger child who is also very tired and crabby. He does football, swimming and puppy training in the week aswell and needs to eat. I feel done in sometimes and exhausted from trying to help him do it all. Lord knows how tired he feels.

  • Sarah L.

    As a teacher I don't particularly like setting homework. The children who need to do it, as they need the extra practice dont, so it's only the ones who usually work well in class who do it. Saying that I try to make it fun and engaging not another chore. I'd also rather the child tried to do it independently and didn't complete, than mum or dad complete it. My kids (year 5) have 10 spellings, maths and literacy but they have mon-mon to do it. In the upper years it also sets them up for secondary school so it's good practice in that respect.

  • Zee D.

    Complete waste of time! I used to teach and you would spend days chasing it up from some. They do enough in sch. Just extra work for teachers, who dont want to set it and for kids that dont want to do it. Should be abolished!!

  • Anna S.

    Ban homework in primary school, it doesn’t do anyone any good! I agree they should read at home but making them right paragraphs at the age of 6 is silly, at home they want to play and spend time with family. We don’t always do my girls homework and I don’t feel guilty about it, my kids are happy!

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